COVID-19 IMPACTING COLD AND FLU SEASON AT NOAH CLINIC

NICOLE HASEK, TRUMPET GUEST WRITER

Cold and flu season is typically a time where sickness is easily handled. COVID-19 has made these bugs a bigger worry. 

Beka Gershenoff, a first-year elementary education student, had a cold in February and was afraid it was COVID-19. Out of fear of being quarantined, she was more cautious with her symptoms than she has been in the past. 

Having difficulty determining the difference between COVID-19 and other illnesses has been a struggle with many students. 

“I thought the symptoms I was having were just allergies, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, watery eyes, and body aches,” Maddy Burke, a third-year social work student who tested positive for COVID-19 in September, said.

Luckily, most of these symptoms have been caused by cold or flu. COVID-19 numbers have been down in comparison to last fall, Megan McMillin, physician at Noah Health Clinic, said, but it is still important for all students with symptoms to be tested to prevent an outbreak. More students are coming in with cases of cold and flu because of the fear that it could be COVID-19.

Most students who show symptoms are tested for COVID-19 right away and are able to make an appointment through Noah Health Clinic.

“As far as cold and flu go, the only thing we can do is treat symptoms as they come,” McMillin said. “The difference and challenge with COVID-19 is knowing what exactly is causing the symptoms. We can do a test that checks for COVID-19 as well as influenza.”

The typical cold and flu season is October through May. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, a peak may be coming shortly.

CURRENT COVID-19 VS. FLU CASES WITHIN THE STATE OF IOWA. INFORMATION TAKEN FROM THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND NEW YORK TIMES. GRAPHIC BY KATIE HIRV.

McMillin said there is not currently a plan for all students who want to get a vaccine to receive one, but she encourages all students who are eligible to get it.

“I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine because I work at a nursing home. Getting the vaccine was for myself and all the other people I come into contact with every day.The nursing home is able to open back up to the public and families are able to visit their loved ones again,” Burke said. “I would tell anyone who can get the vaccine to get it.”

Updates on Wartburg COVID cases can be found on Knights Care page on the Wartburg website. This semester, cases have been significantly lower than the fall, where campus saw over 100 cases.

Students with COVID-19 symptoms are also able to make testing appointments by calling the Noah Health Clinic at (319) 352-8436.

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